Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Banpresto/Monolith Soft
Review Context: I’m fan of RPGs that mix genres to make a game feel fresh in gameplay. Crossover games are something you hardly see, and if you do it hardly gets released into North America.
Date of Playthrough: June 25, 2013 (Release Date)
When Project X Zone was released in Japan on October 11, 2012, many felt that the game would never see the light of day in North America because it was a game that had three companies (Namco Bandai, Sega, and Capcom) fusing their IPs into this RPG mixed with fighting gameplay somewhat. However, not to long after the release it was announced that the game would launch in North America. Will having a huge crossover game get you hyped or will it be fan service overload?
The visuals are bright and colorful as you go into dimensions of a different series franchise. What is interesting to note is while the environments and backgrounds are 3D, the character sprites are 2D. Something from the 16-bit era I feel was done intentionally. The 3D effect adds depth from the character to the background, and when special moves are performed you get to see traditional animation blend in with the 3D backgrounds. You also get a nice animated opening to the game but after that it’s just a still of the character during long cutscenes.
Due to the nature of the game, the gameplay is split into different modes. Before combat you can move your character to certain parts on the map. The touch screen displays who is next to move and their stats. You are able to view the entire map to see where enemies and secrets are at. During combat, the touch screen shows your team’s combo moves and sometimes partner and solo combos. The game does it’s best to explain the gameplay. The learning curve is easy but takes some getting used to. The game has a detail manual in the options menus to explain the battle system.
Stated earlier, this game blends the map of a SRPG (Strategy Role Playing Game) of you placing your character on the map like a game of chess. When you are near an enemy the fight begins and plays like a fighter. You have two characters (or three) to unleash as much damage to the enemy as possible with combos. When you time your combos right you can do heavy damage to the enemy and even more if you have backup to do an X combo, which combines six fighters. As you build damage on the enemy your special bar fills up, and when that happens you can unleash your team’s special move that does huge damage included with a short animated cutscene of the attack. While the battle system relies more on offense, defense comes into play on the map screen when enemies get the jump on you. After each battle you get XP to level up your team to unlock more combos and increased damage.
The story is composed of each team’s franchise getting suck into another character’s dimension to the point where trying to understand the story is pointless and you just go with it. Thankfully you can skip the cutscenes, which is just a still of the character while you read the text (which is a lot). Each level takes an hour to get through since they throw a lot of enemies at you to defeat, but if you don’t have the time, you can save during the mission or wait till after the mission. You must remember to save since this game does not autosave. When you finish a mission you can change who is the third man on the team (to do solo combos). This is nice to see how characters act to each other. For example, I have Ryu and Ken with Bonne from Mega Man Legends. While Ryu’s dialogue is serious, Ken and Boone make fun of each other.
Since this game has tons of characters from Sega, Capcom, and Namco Bandai they added a Wikipedia-like page to give you details on the characters bio and games; same goes for the enemies. This added extra is a huge plus since some of the characters you see were only released in Japan.
The soundtrack does well for the game since its remixes of the character’s theme music, but the problem is that after awhile you get tired of hearing that remix theme during battle. Since the game is an import, you get Japanese audio, but that is rare since you will read the text during cutscenes. Sometimes I get thrown off reading only for the character to speak for two sentences and then it goes mute again.
Similar Games Liked:
Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
Sakura Wars: So Long My Love (PS2)
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA)